Yes! Take a bow for getting ahead of the game.
Whenever you move your team into a new home, there are a few niggles to contend with. Logistics, tech, comms… even with the best will in the world, the best office in the world and the best team in the world.
We’ve helped thousands of people ace this company milestone. They almost always face at least one of the five teething problems below, and you can almost always reduce the risk they’ll happen to you.
Teething problem #1
The internet isn’t playing ball
Argh. Are your palms sweating yet? Hands down, connectivity is the problem we hear clients worrying about most. Scaleups and tech/creative/media outfits cope better without oxygen than internet. So to ensure business continuity, you want all-systems-go as soon as the first laptop flips open.
It’s never too early to start thinking about internet!
Moving to a fully-managed flexible office?
One safeguard is to ask to test the speed *before* you sign the agreement so you know what you’re getting, but this often proves difficult in practice. Instead, what you can definitely do is ask what capacity the provider has in the building, what they propose for your office, and if you can choose to pay for more for an upgrade. Reckon you’ll need a completely separate line or network? Rare but possible. Keep in mind, it will cost time and money. (Too late for all that? All is not lost. Any issues post-move-in, talk to the office provider or building manager to see what they can do. They may have some ideas to improve the speed and coverage one way or another.)
Moving to a leased office?
Find out from the landlord/broker/other tenants which ISPs are currently installed in the building. If the service doesn’t sound up to scratch, reach out to any potential new providers ASAP to ask how long it would take to switch. It’s always easier to piggyback rather than get new lines put in, which can take… months! (Trust us, we’ve found this out the hard way. Worst case scenario, we’re talking digging up the road!)
Whichever type of office you’re moving into, consider having some out-the-box 4G or 5G hotspot units up your sleeve as a backup on your first day, just in case. These are available from most mobile network operators. Expensive compared to normal internet, but cheap cheap cheap compared to a day or more of lost work.
Teething problem #2
There’s a keys/codes/cards kerfuffle for access
Security is a bigger and bigger deal. Which is good. And that means getting in and out of your office is harder and harder. Which is… less good. Most buildings have a combination of codes, cards and keys, with multiple doors and automated barriers to contend with. There are few things that will annoy a diligent employee more than realising they can’t get in if they’re first at the door or unable to lock up after pulling a late one.
Are you in the fortunate position of having keys/cards to spare?Rejoice! All you need to do is arrange to meet every employee on arrival so you can give them the hardware they need and make sure they know what the code is and if/how/when/where the code will change in future.
In the less fortunate position of rationing cards/keys? OK, plan in advance who should have what by mapping out the people who tend to arrive earliest and leave the latest. The default tends to be “give senior people the keys”, which might make sense or not, depending a) how often they’re in the office and b) whether they’re the first or last to be there. You might be able to get more cards/keys made, but this depends on the office provider and whether you want to shell out for them!
Last resort, you could de-risk disaster by giving everyone access to a phone number for emergencies (assuming you can persuade yourself or some other brave soul to take on the responsibility...). Failing that, you can engage a key-holding service to come to the rescue in emergencies. Costs money but saves hassle.
Teething problem #3
Stuff goes missing in the move
Which of the 583 boxes contains the CTO’s extra screens? Is your latest company gong just misplaced, or gone forever? Gulp. An office move is a logistical tour de force with limitless scope for items to go walkies, but you don’t need us to tell you that.
Before you move, label everything to the best of your ability. We’ve found that paying a little extra for purpose-made packing boxes, strong tape and clear labels is an investment you won’t regret. Plus, boxes falling to bits mid-heave are a common cause of missing items! To prevent this and make life easier (not to mention more environmentally friendly), you can rent high-quality boxes from companies who will drop them off and pick them up afterwards.
Then once you’re in your new office, unpack everything you *do* have. The items that seem like they’re AWOL at first usually turn up sooner or later. Labels fall off boxes, boxes end up in the wrong room by mistake, and let’s not forget “found my glasses on top of my head” syndrome…
In the case of an unhappy ending… remember, if you’ve used a logistics company, they often include insurance in the price (rule of thumb: check in advance!). Not using a logistics company? You might still be covered under your company’s own insurance (again, do check first).
Teething problem #4
News of the move doesn’t travel fast enough
Most companies manage to tell their customers and clients when they move office. However, a) studies have shown that people need to hear a message at least 3 times and possibly as many as 20 times before they remember it, and b) customers and clients aren’t the only people who need to hear the news. There’s also your service providers, business partners, investors, industry allies, your great aunt Ethel… the last thing you want is for this crew to find themselves knocking at the wrong door.
Prepare an email announcement two weeks before you’re due to move (or else it could get forgotten in the chaos) and send it one week before as heads-up in advance.
Then send another email on the day of the move to confirm that it’s happened. (Sounds like overkill? Only if your email open rate is consistently 100%...)
Anyone who “isn’t an email person”, call them or send them a letter as well.
Put a banner up on your website for a few weeks, provided this won’t cause world war three with your marketing team.
Add the news to everyone’s email footer.
Update your address on Google and anywhere else you have it listed, online or offline!
Posting on social media is a nice-to-do but unreliable. Those channels probably have a low chance of being seen by the folks who matter most.
For a cost, you can ask the postal service to forward all your mail fro your old office to your new one.
Spreading the word about your move is one area where everyone tends to assume someone else has handled it. So why not designate one person to take charge of getting the news out?
Teething problem #5
Your fit-out works aren’t finished on time
Decided to go for a leased office or an off-plan fully-managed flexible office? Awesome! The space will probably be completed by the given date, shiny and new, just how you dreamed it would be. But you’ve probably already got a knot in your stomach from signing a deal on a space that’s still a building site. Fair enough. Things do go awry once in a while, and the last thing you want is even more disruption around the move.
Stay in touch with your office provider, landlord and/or broker. Ask for regular updates. On the off-chance that there is a delay? The sooner you know about it, the better. If they know you’re the kind of bunch who have your finger on the pulse, you’re more likely to be a priority.
Teething problem #6
You’re caught out by the cleaning situation
Cleaning is a mega topic to tackle when you’re moving into a leased office. Less so, you might expect, in a fully-managed flexible office (it’s part of the “managed”, right?). But we’d bet that your new cleaning setup won’t match your previous one. Even if you have the exact same hours, days, times and humanpower, your new office is physically different. It will have different quirks and problem areas. And your new cleaner(s) probably won’t go about their work the exact same way. All of this leaves scope for confusion, surprises, toilet paper emergencies, a Leaning Tower of Pisa’s worth of dirty mugs...
Whichever type of office you’re moving into, take a moment to compare your old and new cleaning situation beforehand. Prepare for an adjustment period. Then keep a close eye on how things go for the first few weeks, so you can nip any problems in the bud before they become habits (or niggles the team see the about in silence).
Teething problem #7
The legalities of leaving your current office trip you up
We know it’s no fun looking backwards when you’re focused on the future. But moving out of an office is rarely as simple as waving “byeee” and posting the key through the door. Common legal issues include failing to give notice correctly, or the “dilapidations” in a lease that compels you to put the space back to a certain standard at the end. Put a foot wrong and you could find yourself seriously out of pocket.
Hunt down your current agreement or contract to check you’re doing everything by the book. (Can’t find it? Get back in touch with whoever helped you find the office. Worth the effort, we promise.)
Getting yourself up and running in a new office is a festival of highs and lows. We’ve been there ourselves and very much got the t-shirt! We’re always happy to help chat through what’s on your mind, so feel free to get in touch for some support at kontor.com.